Maria Glot gave us a fantastic talk about Sir Titus Salt. She has studied him for more than 40 years. We were all issued with bookmarks bearing the names and addresses of people who lived in the village of Saltaire and worked for Sir Titus. Maria had researched who had lived in the houses, found out about the people and their families, and made the characters come to life by telling their stories Maria was Ellin Dooley on her visit to Hebden Bridge WI
Sir Titus was born in Morley in 1803 He worked initially in his father’s wool business but developed a number of new processes over the years which led to wool that previously wasn’t used to be turned into cloth. This included alpaca wool which was turned into cloth and then used to make clothes for Queen Victoria.
Over 100,000 people from the Bradford workhouses worked for him but when poor conditions and poor water supplies led to illness and disease, Sir Titus, who was Mayor of Bradford, began to change things. He moved from Bradford and bought the site at Saltaire. There was a clean water supply, a railway and a canal. He built a railway station and with the railway and canal developed transport links. He then built his mill which opened in 1853, and later houses, schools, churches, shops, parks and a hospital. He named the streets after his wife, children and family members.
Though he is considered to be a philanthropist, the changes he made were primarily to keep his business going. He made sure the houses and his workers were clean and put in many systems to stop pollution, and recycled and sold the waste from the factories! Maria amazed us with information about him and his cleverness. He developed drainage systems, fireproofed his factory, recycled the water used to supply the houses and even put the urine from the factory toilets to use for dying of cloth and leather!
Maria was also able to tell us about the restoration work that has been done in Saltaire to try and return it to the state it used to be in. Her talk was fascinating and as a result, we are thinking of having a group visit to Saltaire to go on one on Maria’s walking tours.
It was a fabulous evening!